The Coin

The Coin won a Finalist Award in the Mystery/Suspense Category from the Indie Excellence National Awards.

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El Tigre

El Tigre won a Finalist Award in Western Fiction in both Indie Excellence and USA Best Books Awards.

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El Tigre II

El Tigre II has won a Finalist Award in the Western Category in the Indie Excellence National Awards Competition.

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Lobo

Lobo was the winning novel in the Military Fiction Category in the Indie Excellence National Awards Competition.

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Don’t Even Think About It

Don’t Even Think About It, ISBN: 9781932113785, Lauric Press is an interesting collection of ruminative stories by W.Hock Hochheim, owner/operator of a combative training company that provides the physical and psychological nuances of close quarter interpersonal combat to local as well as numerous international groups.

As author of instructive manuals and several instructional books as well as some fiction, he is well prepared to provide these stories from his more than thirty years as a former Military as well as Texas Lawman, Private Investigator and Bodyguard. The trove consists of forty-six self-contained recollections. They recount specific episodes and mistakes from early training experiences, oddities such as “The (amusing) Barefoot Policeman” and other ‘routine’ experiences along with occasions where demandingly intensive detective work was required. An interesting chapter provides a look at a detective’s personal life, and many have the intriguing feature of offering a comparative picture of Korean ‘Police Action’ era law enforcement to that of today’s ‘tightened’ rules. This is a book that individuals interested in ‘all things pertinent to interpersonal combat or even basic street survival’, and especially Hock’s followers, will enjoy. An additional advantage for dwellers in today’s hectic world is that, because each story is self-contained, it may be ‘picked up’ at any time to simply read just a few pages.

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The Fall of Icarus

The Fall of Icarus, ISBN: 9780993190575 e-book by N. R. Bates is a difficult to categorize collection of three seemingly unrelated short stories that require a reader to explore depths of thought that more usually remain unplumbed for fiction. In the first, The Elevator, a businessman arrives to stay at a small older hotel in Paris. The elevator is antiquated, and exceedingly tiny but proves adequately functional until he encounters several unexpectedly extraordinary procedures. The second, The Fall of Icarus, is a rephrased recounting of the myth with interesting additions. The third, The Girl, is of a young woman entertaining an elderly couple with the story about a young novitiate who discovers and employs the ability to fly in spite of the `sacred dogma’ held by the order that “only daemons and angels could fly”. Discussion: This particular compilation of stories requires, at least for this reviewer, a need to indulge in mental gymnastics of varying magnitude. Icarus is simple. An individual has the innate skills to adjust his/her abilities to survive and even perform comfortably within the limitations or other restraints one’s life imposes. The Elevator is somewhat more difficult but suggests to me that regardless of perceptions of confinement, other doors can be discovered that provide escape. The third offering I find more confusing unless I go to mysticism, time warp, parallel worlds, etc. where an explanation quickly emerges. The common thread among the three perhaps is the fact that one is able to accomplish possibly unrealized desires. This is the second offering I have read by this author. His At the Sharp End of Lightning I found to be a “5* fascinating story, informative but delightful with a slight caveat for those thinking similarly to this reader.” To explain the caveat: This well-crafted fantasy provided a wealth of information in a readable form but many enjoyable `sufficient within themselves’ sub-plots that a reader would love to have had expanded but some actually detracted slightly from the light fantasy provided by the main engaging story and its enchanting characters. Conclusion: As a result of the interest my previous acquaintance with this author’s work had aroused, most regrettably I am disappointed. Unquestionably this collection of short stories is well written, interesting and even deep thought evoking in a manner that equates highly with some readers’ selection for enjoyment. And, there are no aspersions cast on the author’s ability and craft. It is, and obviously contrary to other opinions, simply that for this reader they were disappointing after the expectations generated by the initial stimulating introduction to this author’s work.

3* for reasons provided

Finally For Me

Finally For Me, is a romance in e-book form by Roseanne Burke in which two individuals ultimately discover independence and each other.

Lacey, a registered nurse left all friends and familiar environs to move with her ‘significant other’ Mark to the small Minnesota town of Forrester. His controlling nature, finally too much, she demands he leave. He does taking his furniture. Her ICU work week in the overstaffed hospital is only three days a week so, now needing to refurnish as well as sustain the rental by herself, she decides to see if Johnny, owner of the popular local bar and one of the ‘old school’ of bartenders always ready to listen to patron’s problems, will hire her. He does and she meets Ben, a regular who is the son and soon senior partner in the most successful law firm for miles around. Ben also is in a totally dissatisfying relationship with Marissa who also is overbearing, but continues because his family hopes for eventual culmination in marriage and family. Immediate sparks fly between Lacey and Ben who splits suddenly over Marissa’s cheating. Their new relationship takes immediate flight, each attempting to please the other. Unfortunately, numerous factors interfere, not the least of which is Ben’s mother and her tenacious hopes for the Marissa-Ben relationship. The story revolves around the couple’s attempts at resolution.

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Nightscapes

Nightscapes, an e-book by William Wilde is a collection of eleven independent short stories. The content of each ranges from an account of a selected self-contained event or portion of an event or ongoing process, to fragmentary subjects. In turn, the subjects deal variously with: results of predicted climate distortion, use of upgraded sci-fi level mechanisms already basically existent as counter measures in a chaotic future society, fantasy, horror, occult, sci-fi mental manipulation, revenge and a simple conversational agreement to disagree.

Discussion: this strange assortment of stories provides interesting material for a reader’s random thoughts. Granted, the reflections may be on the dark side, even perhaps of a brooding nature. However, would this be amiss given the dire happenings so constantly and seemingly gleefully reported daily by the media?

Conclusion: Unusual, even strange vignettes by an author whose forte is well-written tales of the unusual that a certain type of reader thoroughly enjoys. This collection of independent stories has the additional advantage of allowing the busy person to read as time is available.

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Soaring

SOARING: Living Empowered and Joyful, ISBN: 9781594328159(e), Balboa Press, a book by Matti Dobbs, PhD providing instruction for attaining personal empowerment. Basic theme: Proposes a manner in which persons can become better attuned to their inner thoughts and desires so as to clarify their life’s purpose. The author reminds them that they are the Director and Producer as well as the Actor in this production and as such they can and should dream big and discern a manner in which these dreams can be reached. Numerous suggestions are set forth to reach this goal in life ranging from taking some deep breaths and slowing down in order to simply contemplate how much they do or do not enjoy what they are doing, to meditative and other procedures. If having reached the stage of existence so sadly and aptly sung several years ago by highly recognized Peggy Lee, “Is that all there is?” or even at a more dissatisfying life position, she counsels them not to be afraid to change. If they are willing to take the steps necessary to develop a “Soaring Attitude” their dreams can be accomplished. AND, she offers a step by step procedure for reaching those dreams. A `Flight Plan’ is suggested that includes such basics as focus, concentration, ability and desire to learn, intensely positive thinking and a basic spiritual belief with reference specifically to God. Parenthetically: In the front material the author/publisher presents a disclaimer stating: “the intent of the author is to offer information of a general nature to help you in your quest for emotional and spiritual well-being.” And if used “the author and publisher assume no responsibility for your reactions”. To this reviewer the thought that presentation of a series of helpful hints to aid individuals to think positively to advance their station in life requires a disclaimer is immensely depressing and rather solidifies the slowly growing sense of the horrible decline in the general intelligence and sensibilities of this country’s residents. With the number of references to God, even though applicable and completely innocuous, it is surprising also that they are not worried about some manner of opposition from one of the organizations so vociferously attacking such references. Conclusion: There is considerable replication of instructions but frequently by use of differing verbalization, assumedly because the author has found such a procedure helpful in her teaching sessions. Otherwise this is one of the more stimulating uplifting programs I’ve seen in that it provides specifically helpful steps in a sensible approach to gaining a satisfying life style.

3*   5* Excellent self-help book; regrettable religious caveat required